Michigan warns about mosquito-borne virus

Gregg McChesney

Enlarge Image Gregg Mc Chesney Facebook

"Unfortunately, right now that's a risk", he warned.

Meanwhile, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services reported the first human cases of West Nile virus this season. Three of those patients have died.

Some states this year are reporting elevated cases of Eastern equine encephalitis virus (or EEE or EEEV), a rare but serious and often deadly cause of brain infection transmitted through mosquito bites.

MA has eight cases, followed by Michigan, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and North Carolina.

"The mosquito-borne disease remains a threat that has now resulted in seven confirmed human cases of EEE in MI with onset dates in July", the department said in a news release.

He is the third person this same year who died in southwest MI from the mosquito-borne sickness, the network said. But in those that do, the illness hits hard and fast. That can result in headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures and paralysis. Almost 500 West Nile illnesses, including 21 deaths, have been reported to CDC so far this year.

One of those who died suddenly from EEE this year was Gregg McChesney, 64, of Kalamazoo County, Michigan.

Unexpectedly he had a seizure and next thing recognize, he is in the ER, and he just did not come out of it. As of today, there have been no confirmed human cases of EEE in St. Joseph, Branch, or Hillsdale counties, but there have been three confirmed horse cases of the disease in St. Joseph County and all three of these animals have died. That's how people become infected.

Towns, where mosquitoes have tested positive for EEE, include Chester, Haddam, Hampton, Groton, Killingworth, Ledyard, Madison, North Stonington, Plainfield, Shelton, Stonington, and Voluntown, the department said.

The sphagnum bogs found in southern MI are also a favorite for mosquitoes that spread EEE. Anyone experiencing EEE symptoms should see a physician as soon as possible. His research suggests other outbreaks will occur sooner rather than later.

Mark Fischer, an expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the AP it was unclear why EEE cases were high this year but that the numbers typically increase once every several years.

The CDC says the best way to avoid EEE is to avoid mosquito bites.

Wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers when outside.

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